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“So…are you using a wedding planner?”
The questions asked by well-meaning family and friends began the moment you announced your engagement but, second only to, “when’s the wedding?” the most daunting question for many brides to answer is whether or not they’re going to work with a wedding planner. And that makes complete sense! Entrusting your wedding day plans to a single soul can feel like such a shot in the dark, especially if you feel like you can do it all yourself.
But a wedding planner can be an invaluable resource, not only when it comes to finding vendors, but also in calming nerves, correcting last-minute errors (without you even needing to know about them), and sobering up those rowdy groomsmen before the ceremony!
Because the job is so wide-ranging, it can feel a little confusing, and there are so many questions brides have about what wedding planners do. So, we decided to take those questions straight to wedding planners and find out what wisdom they could offer. Some of their answers might surprise you!
What does a wedding planner even do?
“The primary function of a wedding planner is to educate and guide our clients through the wedding planning journey,” says Kristan Shamus, owner and principal planner at Cora Bella Weddings & Events. “Our clients plan a wedding once in their lives; they don’t know what they don’t know, whereas we plan weddings every day. We are experts in all facets of the wedding planning journey, accumulated through years of planning, continual industry education, networking, and event day execution.”
In short, as Hannah Sabolik, founder and lead designer at Like the Dazzling Weddings & Events, says, “I believe that our jobs as wedding planners are to advocate for our clients from the point of our initial involvement.”
This is a person who is your representative with vendors, ensuring you get the most bang for your buck, reliable service, and the best possible outcome on your wedding day.
What are some of the advantages of going with a wedding planner vs. going without?
“No one should expect a bride to be an immediate expert on wedding planning,” says Jordan Flowers, owner and professional bridal consultant at Wedding Belles. “A wedding planner provides that expertise you need so that you do not feel like you have suddenly added another full-time job to your life.”
More than anything, working with a wedding planner allows you to dive into the aspects of wedding planning that excite you and step away from those that don’t. This allows you to truly enjoy the fleeting period of your life as an engaged couple without all the stress that could come with it.
“This is the happiest time of your life!” says Emma Kegley, founder and lead planner at Passerine Events. “You should be able to feel celebrated and have fun planning your dreams without getting bogged down in contracts and spreadsheets. A wedding planner is your best friend in terms of helping make your big day a reality while also taking all the yucky stuff you’d rather never think about.”
And for brides on a budget, working with a planner helps keep costs down and eliminates those surprise fees.
“I’m here to point our couples in the right direction of what their budget is,” Melissa Adams, owner of G & A Events says. “I read all the fine print from your vendors and venues because no one likes surprises when it comes to the cost of a wedding.”
A planner brings you peace of mind. No more tiptoeing around budgets, hunting down flatware or ensuring vendors are on time. The logistics are totally covered by someone who isn’t you, your mom or your maid of honor.
How much does a wedding planner cost?
The cost of a wedding planner can vary wildly depending on location, season, and the scale of the wedding itself. But every single planner we spoke to recommended budgeting no less than $5,000 for a quality full-service planner, while those prices can reach up to $10,000. Don’t be afraid to ask for partial planning options and coordination over planning if your budget is tight, though.
“I have a partial planning for a bride that wants to be very hands-on with the designing,” says Adams. “My full planning is a very in-depth design and organization process for couples that don’t have the time to be too involved, are out of state, or just really want every last detail to be handled.”
What questions should I ask a planner I’m considering?
Flowers recommended that brides ask upfront what they can expect from a planner on the wedding day to ensure their style matches your needs, while Adams suggested brides should ask how many weddings a potential planner takes each year to make sure they’ve got enough time in their schedule to devote to your wedding day. And Sabolik insists that taking the time to get to know a potential planner definitely pays off down the line!
But every single wedding planner has a story about a time when their service totally changed the game during a bride’s wedding day. So, ask potential planners to tell you their stories!
Kegley told us about a time when she worked some magic to find flatware when, on the day of the wedding, the company responsible fell through. Adams shared a time when she had to run to the grocery store to buy a cake because the ordered one never showed. Shamus told us about a time that she literally consulted a pilot for the most accurate weather reports so a bride’s ceremony could be squeezed in between rain showers!
“One of our superpowers as wedding planners is the ability to put out fires before they even begin,” says Sabolik. “To do this, we are always thinking one step ahead and – while we plan for a seamless event – one of the ways we are able to successfully do so is by also planning for the what-ifs and the unexpected.”
Wedding planners have access to experiences and resources the average bride couldn’t even imagine, and while we hope your wedding day is easy-breezy, these planners come through in a pinch unlike anything else!
“Wedding planning is not for the faint of heart,” says Shamus. “We are passionate and truly love what we do. We work hard and give everything we have to our clients. We are here to help bring your dream wedding to life, while also providing some gentle truths about budget and expectations. In the end, your wedding will be beautiful, represent you as a couple, and most importantly you will be married to the one you love most in the world. We are here to bring all of that together with you and for you.”